What is an EDIFACT INVOIC Message?

EDIFACT INVOIC is an electronic invoice exchanged between suppliers and their customers. The INVOIC message is based on the UN/EDIFACT standard and used in many different industries, i.e. automotive or retail.

The use of the EDIFACT INVOIC Message

Partners can use the EDIFACT INVOIC message to exchange invoicing information automatically and to align the billings with the corresponding orders directly. The EDIFACT INVOIC message consists of segments containing billing information about the traded materials/services and information about the sender and the recipient. This way, the INVOIC message replaces a paper-based invoice when partners communicate via EDI (Electronic Data Interchange).

What does a typical EDIFACT D96A INVOIC Structure look like?

An INVOIC D96A invoice message is a standard message claiming payment for goods or services supplied under conditions agreed between the seller and the buyer. The D.96A is the most prominent version release and often abbreviated as INVOIC D96A. It dates back to 1996 and was Release A with Version D.

The EDIFACT INVOIC guideline specifies segments and elements required for a correct and complete INVOIC D96A message. EDI solutions can either be an EDI Cloud Service or on-premises software solution – send, receive, or process all sorts of EDI messages like the invoice message. To ensure that the electronic invoice contains all mandatory and agreed upon information, you would need to follow the mutually agreed EDI standard. 

A typical EDIFACT INVOIC D96A Message includes:

  • Invoice number
  • Invoice date
  • Shipment referral (Date of shipment of each item)
  • Payment terms
  • Specific item details and charges
  • Surcharges/Discounts

Processing of the EDIFACT INVOIC Message

Typically, the supplier creates an Invoice Message and sends this to the customer. The customer’s system receiving the message compares it against the EDIFACT INVOIC specification and may send back a functional acknowledgment upon reception. The supplier then gets confirmation confirming that they have received the invoice message. The invoice data can then be added to the customer ERP system to create the new invoice record.

EDIFACT INVOIC and REMADV Message

Based on the financial processes definition, an EDIFACT REMADV message could be sent as a follow-up document EDIFACT INVOIC from the customer (buyer) to the supplier (payee). The REMADV message or Remittance Advice contains further instructions relating to the payment. This information helps the suppliers to reconcile payments they receive against invoices they have issued.

EDI Workflow for processing of the EDIFACT INVOIC Message

In general, the documents exchanged between EDI trading partners follow a typical sequence of business processes, depending on the type of industry. The below diagrams show typical EDI workflows and highlight exactly then the Invoice is used, in conjunction with other EDI message types.

How is the EDIFACT INVOIC Format called in other EDI Message Standards?

The ANSI X12 standard is an EDI standard widely used in the NAFTA region. EDIFACT and VDA messages are more common in other areas like the European Union or Asia. For exchanging invoice information, you can also use the ANSI X12 EDI 810 standard. You also come across the VDA4906 and VDA4938 standard to transfer invoice data in the automotive industry. 

Benefits of using EDI and the EDIFACT INVOIC Message

The exchange of invoice information via EDIFACT INVOIC has many advantages for both - the customer and the supplier:

  • Reduces employee workload a lot because data has not to be provided by hand
  • Avoiding errors as data is generated automatically by the system and not by human interaction
  • EDI Invoice message is directly present as an electronic representation and in this form can be done archived quickly and easily
  • Invoices are sent and delivered instantly
  • Safe EDI protocols (OFTP2, SFTP, AS2 or via VANs) protect the confidentiality in transit

Benefits specific to suppliers/payee

  • Transparency and a complete overview of all invoices, both sent and received
  • Receipt confirmation for billing information

Benefits specific to customers/payer

  • Invoice data is quickly available without the need to add this manually reducing input errors
  • Transparent overview about to be paid shipments

Potential Issues with the EDIFACT INVOIC Message

The most common problem when exchanging invoice messages is incorrect or missing data. Transmitted data inside an EDIFACT INVOIC message currently not recognized by the customer's ERP system, may cause an error. Look for:

  • Parts, regarding delivery or order, are not in the system (wrong reference or missing)
  • Prices or price units are not available
  • Payee or payer reference number is missing or wrong

Automate the INVOIC Invoice Message with flexible operating models

When you consider modernizing EDI and your supply chain management, evaluate all options. SEEBURGER provides increased capabilities, including leveraging an EDI Cloud Service in the SEEBURGER Cloud or public cloud environments (Google, Azure, AWS, etc.) or on-premises as an in-house operation.

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